Wednesday, September 21, 2011

confession: how to prepare for a high school reunion

This weekend Stevie Wonder and I fly home to visit my family.  We also have a small road trip up the California coast planned, with detours through the redwoods and down the Silverado Trail through the Napa wine valley.  I am anticipating lots of fun and laughter with people I love, as well as some great photo opportunities with Big Girl.

Then there is the other reason I am going home.  My high school reunion.  High school reunions, if you aren't familiar with them, are gatherings of people who spent time together when they were pimply, sweating adolescents.  Those were the days when we lived under peer pressure in an academic setting that was supposed to prepare us for life beyond the 12th grade.  Some went on to college, some to work.  Me?  I went on to a marriage that started 2 days after I graduated from high school.  A marriage that has lasted for over 40 years.

I missed the first high school reunion.  There may have been a second reunion I missed too.  I wasn't really sorry, because I don't really like being in crowds of people that I have absolutely nothing in common with any more.  Well, come to think of it, I never had anything in common with most of those people anyway, except the classes we shared.  I did make some close friends in high school.  And have kept track of a couple of them over the years.  But the majority of the 200 or so people I graduated with?  Just a distant, almost demented memory that is more like a delusion now than anything that really happened.

But for some reason, this year I decided to go.  So months ago, I made a list of things I needed to do before I went to this reunion of people I probably won't remember.  I decided a whole makeover was necessary, because I had to look my best.  The list floated in my head over the months, and from time to time I would check my progress.  The reunion begins in two days, and this is the end result of the list:

1. Lose weight.  Failed.  The best I can hope for is a really tight pair of spanx that reaches from my armpits to my knees that can mold me to look like Sophia Lauren.  From the neck down anyway.
2. Increase my exercise routine.  Failed.  I have yet to begin an exercise routine.  The dust on the treadmill is so thick that I can write my name on it.
3. New manicure and pedicure.  Failed.  Reason: I've been buried in paperwork for weeks now and time slipped up and oh well, I'll be going with toes that have polish half grown off, and nails that are in their virgin state, untouched by anything.
4. Facial and body massage.  Failed.  I have a coupon given to me by a dear friend for my birthday, that I have yet to use, for reason #3.  I pat the envelope every now and then to remind me it is waiting for me.  I was trying to wait until I accomplished #1 and #2, so the masseuse wouldn't be kneading the Pillsbury Dough Boy when he worked his magic on me.
5. New wardrobe of exciting, cutting edge designs, for my new body.  Failed.  Doubly, because of #1.  So I've had to settle for designer wear from WalMart and the local discount department store on sale.  

As I ticked off my failures in my head, it suddenly dawned on me.  I'd gotten sucked into a morass of superficial triteness. This reunion isn't about me.  It's not about how I look, it's not about how other people see me on the outside, or how they look to me.  It's about sharing a bit of time, with people I most likely will never see again, and comparing how our lives have turned out.  Sharing some laughs, some memories, and reminiscing for a bit with people who shared a spot of time in my life many years ago.  We've all changed physically.  Time assures that.  But what's happened to our dreams and plans?  Did we accomplish what we planned to do those many years ago?  Or did life take us down other paths?

I am prepared.  The wrapping doesn't matter.  I'll have fun anyway, and my sister will be at my side (it's her reunion too), along with Stevie Wonder.  Sharing memories, laughs, catching up on news with others.  And making some new memories.  Trying to remember names will be the piano part.

Margaritas last night with my friend was my cure.  As we sat and talked, I realized what is important.  People, life, sharing food, drink and time with others are what counts.  The connection.  That is what matters.

What happened to my mental list?  I threw it in my mental trash bin.  Where it should have been long ago.  Life is good.  Anxiety is gone.  And I am centered once again. your life where you thought it would be when you were 17?  :D

~cath xo
Twitter @jonesbabie
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